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Old 10-13-2010, 02:11 PM   #21
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Are you guys doing AG with your swamp coolers? Just a day or two ago some folks on here were saying don't bother going AG until you have "real" cooling (aka dedicated fridge with temp control). I was thinking of going AG soon and just have something similar to what's in the photos above.
I still don't have a dedicated fermentation chamber. Just my basement, and a cooler. Here's a picture:


I use a water bath up to the level of the beer, and frozen water bottles as needed. I float a thermometer in there, and I can even lager in it just like that! In the winter, I use an aquarium heater to bring the temperature UP in the water bath if needed.

I took off the original lid (and saved it, so I can still use it as a cooler) and made a new more insulated lid out of a sheet of foam insulation. It's four layers of insulation, with the hole cut out for the airlock.
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Old 10-13-2010, 02:17 PM   #22
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Are you guys monitoring the fluid temp in the cooler or the temp of the beer in the fermenter?
I had 3 one gallon jugs in my cooler with the water level 1/2 inch below the wort level. During high Krausen I checked the temp in the jugs and it was within a degree of the water temp. It seems that glass conducts the temps very efficiently when liquid is on both sides. Air maybe not so good, but water works great.

Note: these were one gallon jugs and a larger fermenter might be different due to the volume of wort. (Ok, I am not sure when the wort becomes beer, so I’m guessing since it has fermented a little, it may be technically beer. Just really weak sweet beer.)
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:38 PM   #23
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Are you guys monitoring the fluid temp in the cooler or the temp of the beer in the fermenter?
I use a floating dairy thermometer in the cooler water. Obviously the beer inside the fermenter takes a little while to equalize with the temp of the water but the same issue occurs in a fridge.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:05 PM   #24
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I have to say, I tried the rope handle 18 gallon tub filled with water (~$7) and just placed the fermenting bucket in it and filled to about the same level with water as wort and have been alternating frozen bottles of water and freezer packs for a few days. It works quite well; crude but effective!

Wort temp when I pitched the yeast around 3pm Sunday was 80, by the evening (8ish) it was down to mid 70's, the next morning 68-70 and today at lunch I'd added to much cooling and the wort itself was 58F. As a noob I'd recommend this method for anyone trying to get the temps down or even trying to do some lagering.

knowing how well this works, I'll be doing a 10 gallon batch of Saccharomyces Irish Red with a lager yeast very soon and expanding this method to a larger Rubbermaid bin to house 2 fermenting buckets.

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Old 01-10-2012, 08:17 PM   #25
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This seems like a great idea. I have an old tote that I can't find the lid to just laying around so it should be perfect. My question is though, if I'm using a stick on thermometer on my bucket/ carboy putting a wet shirt around it will ruin it and I'd also not be able to monitor the Fermenter temp. How do you all get around that?

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Old 03-17-2012, 01:42 AM   #26
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This seems like a great idea. I have an old tote that I can't find the lid to just laying around so it should be perfect. My question is though, if I'm using a stick on thermometer on my bucket/ carboy putting a wet shirt around it will ruin it and I'd also not be able to monitor the Fermenter temp. How do you all get around that?
This is a little bit of an older thread, but I was wondering this same thing. I'm looking to use the swamp cooler method, but how do you easily monitor the actual fermentation temperature if you have a wet t-shirt wrapped around it, and high water levels, which can ruin the temp stickers?
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:19 AM   #27
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which can ruin the temp stickers?
How does it ruin it? Or do you mean it just renders it inaccurate while the outside level of the water is touching it?
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Old 03-17-2012, 11:43 AM   #28
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How does it ruin it? Or do you mean it just renders it inaccurate while the outside level of the water is touching it?
I've read a few reviews/comments from people saying that when they mounted temp stickers on the outside of their carboys/buckets, some of the sticker faded away or ceased to work if water came into contact with it. Is that a common problem?

I suppose I could put clear tape over it to protect it from water damage if it's an issue.. but I'm not sure if that would affect the temp reading.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:01 PM   #29
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I just leave my floating thermometer in the swamp cooler

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Old 03-17-2012, 12:48 PM   #30
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I just leave my floating thermometer in the swamp cooler
Or a little suction cup aguarium one from the pet store.
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